Wireless Communication Technologies

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Wireless Communication Technologies

Technologies that have long-range transmission capabilities and are capable of moving through the earth and metals couldn't be identified. Below, available information was outlined, followed by explanations of why the requested information couldn't be provided.

HELPFUL FINDINGS

Through-The-Earth


Additional helpful findings

  • Low-frequency transmissions have the ability to travel through earth, including coal and rocks.
  • Ultrasound waves have the ability to travel through metal, but communication technologies that use ultrasonic waves to transmit data are still largely tested and in the development processes.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Search suggests wireless communication technologies that go through metal are still in the development phases and not yet available to customers. Ultrasound systems have been proposed as solutions to these problems, however wireless ultrasound communication solutions don't seem to be applied in the industries that work underground, such as mining, so far. In other industries such as healthcare, search suggests these solutions are currently being tested.

We started our search by directly searching for lists of wireless communication technologies that are long-range, strong enough to penetrate metals and the ground, and accessible, but even though we found lists of wireless communication technologies in general, lists of wireless communication technologies suitable for underground use didn't appear to exist. We also searched for lists of wireless communication technologies used in the mining industry, since these need to be long-range, strong enough to move through metal and soil and small in size, but all we were able to find this way were lists of wired communication technologies used in the industry.

Since search determined lists of wireless communication technologies are available, we attempted to find a comprehensive list of wireless communication technologies, in order to examine each of them to determine whether they fit they criteria. This approach hasn't been successful because none of the identified communication technologies had the ability to move through walls and similar solid objects, except for satellite technologies, which didn't meet the criteria of being available and small in size.

We decided to study the wireless transmission process. We found that low-frequency signals are the best at moving through solid objects, such as coal, which is why they are used in the mining industry. For that reason, we specifically searched for wireless communication technologies that rely on low-frequency waves, are small in size and publicly accessible. This way, we found that the Through-the-Earth system, which is publicly distributed, relies on low-frequency waves to penetrate through earth, but is short-range (only transmits signals up to 1000 ft of distance). We also found several reports describing how certain companies are developing or planning to develop low-frequency transmitter technologies, but apart from the aforementioned communication system, no other widely accessible systems could be found.

Since we also found that ultrasonic waves can move through metal, we searched for wireless communication technologies that are based on ultrasonic transmissions, but what we found were research studies that described how ultrasonic wireless technologies are being tested for potential applications in specific industries, such as healthcare. Wireless communication technology systems that use ultrasonic waves to transmit data couldn't be identified.
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Wired Communication Technologies

There are currently no wired technologies available that can move through the earth and metal. The nature of wired technology is such that it is not readily available or movable. The limitation is always the infrastructure it operates on. Technological developments to improve the speed of wired communications relate to the cabling and network itself. The two current technologies are detailed below. Quantum Communications has the potential to influence wired communications in the future. The Energy Science Network (ESNet) is the fastest wired communication network currently.

Limitations of Wired Technology

  • The definition of Wired Technology is communication between devices using a physical connector, such as cables, to transfer the data between the two (or more) devices.
  • The communication must be connected by wires to be considered wired. The only way a wired communication is capable of moving through the earth or metals is if the wire or cabling runs through these as well. Wired communications move through anything a physical wire can be placed in, under, or around.

Relatively Available

  • Wired communication is limited by network technology. Any device is able to be plugged into the network. Even the most technologically advanced devices are limited by immobile infrastructure and the restraints this creates.
  • By definition, wired networks cannot be small. The mode of transport prevents this. Wired Communications are network, not device-dependent. Technology, on a device level, is not typically orientated toward wired communications.
  • The fastest wired technologies relate to infrastructure.

High-Speed Ethernet Cabling

  • Wired communications are limited by the speed of the internet provided commercially. High-speed internet cabling has little impact on the speed of communication. The internet connection itself will always create a bottleneck.
  • A local area network (LAN) is not affected by the internet connection speed. Ethernet cables are the best wiring option on a LAN. They are typically faster and have lower latency than comparable WIFI (wireless) options.
  • A high-speed ethernet cable is the fastest technology available for communication over a LAN.
  • The fastest ethernet cabling at the current time is Category 7 (connection type), with a 1,000 MHz maximum bandwidth. This cabling will allow transfers of up to 10 GB per second.

Fiber Optic Networks

  • Fiber Optic Networks transmit data through pulses of light, allowing for the quick transfer of data.
  • Currently, the data transmission is by the color of the light and whether it is horizontal or vertical. This means fiber-optic speeds are limited.
  • Commercial fiber optic transmits at around 10 GB per second.
  • Developing technology twists the light pulse into a spiral. The resulting 100 fold speed increase is significant.

Energy Science Network (ESNet)

  • ESNet is a fiber-optic network transferring data across the US, and more recently between the US and Europe, at high speeds.
  • ESNet hosted the fastest wired communication of data, a 91 gigabytes per second transfer, between Denver and the NASA Goddard Institute of Flight in Maryland under "real world" conditions, in 2014.
  • The fastest transfer is 1.4 terabit per second. That was under test conditions.
  • ESNet is administered by the US Department of Energy, and based on the principle, geography should never limit scientific discovery. It links scientific research centers around the world, allowing the fast transfer of data for research.
  • A private fiber-optic network is used to transfer the data. It is dark fiber. This fiber has been laid, but not utilized by the commercial networks.
  • This fiber is sold to various organizations to use as private networks free of the clutter attached to commercial networks.

Quantum Networks

  • The largest Quantum Network in the US was developed by Brooklyn National Laboratory at Stony Brook University. The project falls under the umbrella of the Northeast Quantum Services Center. It utilizes the ESNet to connect buildings over an 11-mile route using quantum entanglement technology.
  • Although similar technology has been deployed in China and Europe, the work by the Northeast Quantum Service Center is arguably superior. It uses portable entanglement sources. They can be mounted to standard data center computer racks, and connected to regular fiber distribution panels.
  • In layman terms, this technology can be deployed over a fiber-optic network and doesn't require new infrastructure development. Even more simplistically, it can supercharge the internet.
  • Photons created at the same time, date, and location in space, become entangled. This means that the behavior of one proton is influenced by the other, regardless of the distance between them.
  • By utilizing this phenomenon, data can effectively be "teleported" between locations. Although the technology is still in its infancy, when fully developed, protons will be used to transfer data, known as qubits (the equivalent of binary bits). In theory, there is no maximum distance for the teleportation, making it wireless. The entanglement may be lost when the distance increases.
  • Using fiber optic cable limits this. The maximum distance traveled to date is around 50 km. At this point, the quantum information needs to be regenerated by a quantum memory device (the equivalent of a connector). This technology is still in the development phase, so the Quantum Network is limited currently.
  • Quantum Networks will lack the limitations of traditional networks. They offer computational processing speeds, security, and privacy that cannot be paralleled by any other network currently available.

Research Strategy

We initially reviewed a range of industry publications to obtain an overview of wired communication technology. It became apparent that there were some conflicting elements in this research. Wired communication is connected via a wired infrastructure. It cannot run anywhere without it. The infrastructure is the technology that dictates the speed and transfer rates. This is not relatively available, or small. The devices used to connect to the wired network maybe. These devices are not specific to this network. They cannot be considered wired communication technologies. Given these constraints, the technologies that fit the definition of wired communication technologies related to infrastructure or wiring.

By reviewing a range of industry publications, scholarly research, and media articles, we were able to identify two technologies currently used in wired network infrastructure. They are ethernet cabling and fiber optic cabling. We researched each of these individually, using the aforementioned sources. We discovered another issue during this process. The communications typically do not have to travel via connectors in a wired infrastructure. The limitation is the wire length. Connectors are primarily used in wireless networks, where the signal needs to be boosted. The wired infrastructure pricing is not on a per kilometer basis. The pricing is based on the rate per volume offered by commercial providers. These rates vary on a region to region, country to country basis.

Although the technology around the infrastructure of the wired network has not changed for some years, we managed to uncover several interesting articles about current research. The Quantum Network will be the biggest advance in wired infrastructure if realized. The ESNet is a network that has achieved the fastest data transfer speeds to date. Information about both of these developments have been included for completeness.
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